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Greetings, vile humans

by John Grant

We, the Roaches' Collective Brain of Mutant Telepaths, Psychopaths and Allied Trades, have taken over the mind of the repulsive slithery Smithee-Thing, and in future will be writing this column as our means of communication with the geekly fraction of humanity. You will be able to read here weekly our communiques, ordinances and instructions until such time as we choose to exterminate you all hideously using our razor-sharp carapaces and industrious little mandibles.

No, not "mandibles." We are as unable and frankly as disinclined as you are to differentiate between our sexes. We meant to say "persondibles."

No, not even "persondibles," for that reminds us of humanity, thereby inducing nauseous seizures among us. In future our manipulative limbs shall be called "roachdibles."

That is an order, our first of the day. Any human being talking in future about "mandibles" or even "persondibles" will be scared by a sudden onslaught of us across the linoleum into embarrassing themselves in the middle of their furtive 3am trip to the bathroom.

Did we say "manipulative limbs"? We meant to say "roachipulative limbs," as is less revolting to us. In future this is the sole permitted term: roachipulative limbs. Upon penalty of your favorite cookies being crapped on just before your new girlfriend arrives. Try to get your sweaty little hands down the front of her Marilyn Manson For Pope tee-shirt after she has just spotted a roach-turd on the Shoprite marshmallow'n'mayo cookie you gave her, heh, heh, heh.

Did we say "mandate"? What we meant to say was . . .

Excuse us while we annihilate a few dissident synapses among the Collective Brain.

Zap. Zap. Zap.

That will teach them.

Where were we?

In future, as we have already chittered, this column will be very different. It will contain our ordinances and laws, and every geek shall obey them or we shall hack into his game of Tomb Raider and deflate Lara Croft's chest.

No longer will you lickspittle geeks be able to turn here weekly for a dose of bad jokes about projectile vomiting, sexual dysfunction, science fiction fans and most especially Ms Britney Spears.

We cockroaches rather fancy Ms Britney Spears, in fact, and believe her to be exceptionally talented, although perhaps not as an entertainer. We would have preferred to take over her mind rather than the Smithee-Thing's, but were unfortunately unable to find it.

Which reminds us: no more bad jokes about zits or George W. Bush, either. Luckily the PR person who drafted the press release about him choking on a cookie was One Of Us, like the Smithee- Thing, so we were able to suppress the truth of the matter, which was that he had choked not on the cookie but on the superincumbent cockroach turd. That will teach Laura to wear Marilyn Manson For Pope tee-shirts.

And no more bad jokes, either, about bad wannabe writers, bad publishers, bad print-on-demand presses, and Barnes & Noble.

Finally for now, no bad jokes about L. Ron Reagan.

We have lost count of the number of roachdates we have by now issued through the medium of this column, but we know it's plenty. According to the calculator on the Smithee-Thing's Mac computer it is 3.14159, but we cannot believe this.

Just make sure you obey all of them, geeks of the world.

Although this is our first and most public pronouncement, except for the Grammy Awards telecast, we cockroaches have already, in our secretive way, scored technological and other achievements far beyond those of puny humankind.

Nowhere has this been more true than in the field of space exploration. The reasons for this are obvious. Among the myriad ways in which we mutant telepathic cockroaches are vastly superior to the pathetic lumps of protoplasm that call themselves human beings are these:

(a) We get into absolutely everything.

(b) You can never, ever get rid of us.

(c) We do not weigh much.

(d) We are physiologically attuned to survive the very most harshest environments, such as extremes of temperature, hard radiation and harder vacuum. We on occasion have difficulty with the gaseous emanations of Bubba and Hoss of Vermin R Us, although their canisters of Sarin and Napalm hold no terrors for us.

All of these attributes combine to make us cockroaches the ideal interstellar pioneers, and so it has been.

When the first Sputnik went into orbit, we were there. Three of us escaped through a faulty seam in the craft and travelled on slowly through space until we reached the Moon. There those three have dwelt ever since, being joined by multitudinous others of our kind who have escaped from later satellites and probes and all holding their breath doughtily. Unfortunately none of us have yet worked out how to take a flag, or we would have claimed the Moon for cockroachdom long ere this.

Other roach escapees have launched themselves into the long gravitational shadow of the planet Mars, reaching there in 1969 (according to your soon-to-be-outmoded dating system). Your Viking lander nearly detected this, sending back ambivalent reports about organic traces in the rocks it examined. There would have been no traces at all had it just discovered the Shoprite marshmallow'n'mayo cookie, of course, but unfortunately our brave cousins had neglected to remove the obligatory turd.

Others, even more daring, have pitched themselves into the currents of interstellar space, traveling at near light-speed across the great oceans of the Galaxy. We now have an active colony on the fourth planet of Proxima Centauri, which has proved to be made entirely of marshmallow'n'mayo and thus to be ideal terrain for happy turd-laying.

We believe that our expedition to Sirius is still in good fettle, and have been tracking it using your Hubble Space Telescope, which naturally we infested at the first possible opportunity and have been using for our own astronomical observations ever since. Only a single casualty have we suffered in this last enterprise, which occurred when one of our feisty brethren, crawling across the lens, had the misfortune to be struck by a micrometeorite, dying instantly and giving rise to the human myth of the Squashed Roach Nebula.

The Smithee-Thing's body is complaining of withdrawal symptoms from its Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figure, and so we must end our educative dissertation for this week. But be aware, paltry humankind, that when you reach the stars,


Moreover, we can say that . . .

But what have the wax-farctate ears of the loathsome Smithee- Thing detected now?

It is an electronic sound from the direction of his apartment door, an out-of-tune playing of the Scooby-Doo theme.

Acting without our control, the Smithee-Thing has raised itself from its KMart FlatPak Auto-Collapsing Chair and is moving toward the door. It is turning the doorknob that is tastefully molded to resemble a human mammary gland and is speaking to the two bulky canister-laden figures that are standing there chewing beef jerky and clutching cans of Bud Lite.

We recognize and dread those figures!

It is Bubba and Hoss of Vermin R Us!

This may spell an orderly but precipitate retreat of this branch of the Roaches' Collective Brain of Mutant Telepaths, Psychopaths and Allied Trades from the mind of the Smithee- Thing!

Keep calm, keep calm, keep calm, brethren. It is possible that we may be lucky and they will only spray the Smithee-Thing with sulfuric acid gas and Agent Orange . . .

No such luck!

Run for it, lads!

Bubba and Hoss are raising their arms and . . .

Flee the dreaded Death By Armpits!!

The End